Restaurant Review: Bezzy’s

What and Where:

Bezzy’s | 20 N. Washington Street | Ypsilanti, MI | 734-485-9625

Ratings (1=terrible, 5=mind-blowingly great)

  • Tastiness: 4.25
  • Service: 4.5
  • Price (1=super cheap, 5=super expensive):1.5
  • Value:4.5
  • General vibe: 4
  • Comments

    • It’s been a long time since I wrote any restaurant reviews around here.  I don’t completely know why; it’s not as if I stopped going out to eat.  Maybe it’s because I’ve been playing around with Yelp a fair amount lately.  Anyway, Annette and I went out tonight and started talking about reviewing restaurants again, so here I am.
    • Basically, it’s a breakfast/lunch/coffee shop sort of place, though they are to 7pm.  I guess I don’t see it as a place for dinner.
    • I’ve only been for breakfast for a couple of times, and all I can tell you for sure is that the various versions of French Toast they have are insanely good.  Baked and sweet and nutty (pecans), it’s excellent and it is not a crazy sized portion, either.  Highly recommend.
    • Generally, this is a lunch place for me.  I really like the Avocado BLT a lot, but they always have great soup (pretty much changes every day), so I like to get either the half-sandwich and soup or the salad/soup combo.  I’m partial to the Beezy’s salad.  Get an extra plate though– it’ll make eating the salad a lot easier.
    • Great coffee– they carry the Intelligentsia Coffee, which I think is fantastic– though I only get coffee (no espresso drinks).  The wifi is okay (Ypsi Free Wireless), but that’s okay (or not?) because it’s not really a good place to work for a long time.  It is kind of a coffee shop, but more a cafe, if that makes sense.
    • Oh, parking-wise:  take a look at the map and park behind.

    Catching up on some links and other readings

    A bit of a miscellaneous post here, more or less trying to catch up on readings and stuff to come back to:

    • From the NYTimes Lens blog, “Chop and Crop,” which is a complaint by photographer David Hume Kennerly about how Newsweek reframed/reworked a photo he took of Dick Chenney.  Basically, the original photo was a family picture of the Chenneys where Dick was cutting up a hunk of roast or some other sort of beef.  The re-cropped photo,which appeared in Newsweek and accompanied a quote from Chenney about torture and such, zooms in on Chenney cutting up bloody meat.  An extensive and interesting discussion, too.
    • “Is the Internet Melting our Brains?” is an interview in Salon with Dennis Baron about his book, A Better Pencil.  Spoiler alert:  Baron’s answer appears to be “no.”
    • Here and here, Henry Jenkins has a long interview with S. Craig Watkins about social media (especially Facebook) and about his book The Young and the Digital. Just skimming through the interview (which is in itself enough of a text to include in a class, especially something like 516 or 444), it seems like Watkins’ analysis is pretty interesting.  Say, speaking of stuff like Facebook:
    • The John Seely Brown Symposium at U of M on October 13 is going to feature an open to the public speech and panel presentation with danah boyd as the keynote speaker.  I think I’m going to let my 12:30 class out early and head on over there.

    The problem with book stores

    I like book stores, and I was pretty bummed out when Shaman Drum closed up in Ann Arbor in the spring.  In my estimation, it was clearly the best bookstore in the area and one of the best academic/independent bookstores in the country.  And I also like the “big box” stores like Barnes and Noble and Ann Arbor’s own Borders for the variety, all the extras (CDs, coffee shops, etc.), and, of course, books.

    Still, there is a reason why Borders (and I presume Barnes and Noble, right?) are losing money hand over fist and why I end up spending a lot more money on books at amazon.com nowadays.

    I went into Borders today while running some errands to buy Crossing the Finish Line:  Completing College at America’s Public Universities and The TOON Treasury of Classic Children’s Comics. Initially, I can’t find anyone who actually works there to help me, so I head to the computer system to look up the Crossing the Finish Line book.  I learn the book is “likely” in the store in the “Education and Parenting” section, though I have no clue where the “Education and Parenting” section is in the store.   So I wander around for a while (is it near psychology?  self-help? business?), and I finally find someone, who tells me it’s back in the children’s section.  I find the shelf, which is a mish-mosh of books on stuff like potty training, Hirsch’s “cultural literacy” books, and high schools today, and remarkably, I do find this book (which is a somewhat controversial book about graduation rates at universities in the U.S.) stuck in there.  So I picked it up, comfortable enough with the $27.95 price.

    Then I decided to look for the other book.  Again, I tried it on the computer system, but the answer I got was confusing, so I asked for some help from the person who helped before.  She actually logged into a completely different computer system and was able to find the book, which was in the store (though not anywhere close to the children’s section).  But it was priced at $40, and I knew that I could get it on amazon.com for $26.40, and it wasn’t going to cost $13 to ship it.  So I took a pass on that.  And in hindsight, I should have left Crossing the Finish Line on the shelf too because I would have saved $10 buying that via amazon.com.

    Oh, and just to add to it, there was but one cashier at the register, so it took me about 10 minutes just to pay my bill.

    So, let’s review:

    • Buying online would have been faster, easier, cheaper, and more convenient, by far.
    • It would have been easier to find what I was looking for online.
    • On the other hand, actually going to the store allowed me to communicate with a human and to make an impulse buy (in this case, a different anthology of comics).  That’s certainly a plus of “real world” shopping, but it’s also one of the reasons why I wish Shaman Drum was still open.

    “We are all writers now”

    The ever-readerly Nick Carbone posted this link to some of the usual mailing lists:  “We are all writers now,” in More Intelligent Life and by Anne Trubek. It’s a nice piece, especially in response to that old “we’re going th hell in a handbasket with writing and reading because of these dang computers.”  Here’s a quote:

    Go back 20, 30 years and you will find all of us doing more talking than writing. We rued literacy levels and worried over whether all this phone-yakking and television-watching spelled the end of writing.

    Few make that claim today. I would hazard that, with more than 200m people on Facebook and even more with home internet access, we are all writing more than we would have ten years ago. Those who would never write letters (too slow and anachronistic) or postcards (too twee) now send missives with abandon, from long thoughtful memos to brief and clever quips about evening plans. And if we subscribe to the theory that the most effective way to improve one’s writing is by practicing—by writing more, and ideally for an audience—then our writing skills must be getting better.

    BTW, I wish there was an easy way for me to post the same post to two or three different blogs…. Anyway, this one will come in handy for things like 516 for sure.

    Sketchy internet access/on the road in DC

    Unfortunately, my wifi access has been sketchy at best in our hotel room in Washington,D.C. On the one hand, it’s rather irritating because we’re staying at a very nice hotel that ought to be able to provide decent access. On the other hand, we are on a vacation of sorts (even though Annette and I are both working quite a bit), and we at least have the iPhones. I actually started this post on my iPhone, and thanks to it, I have been able to check my mail, post a few things on Facebook, etc. But it looks like I’m going to have either wait until I get home, get better internet access, or figure something else out before I can upload any significant amount of photos to Flickr.

    The short version of the trip to date:

    • We’re taking it mainly because we can. This is the first time ever in which our break from EMU lined up with Will’s teaching. Since we didn’t have a parental visit of obligation and since we had been in warmer climes this past Christmas, we decided to take a family trip our own.
    • Our first stop was in middle of no-where, Pennsylvania. Light snow the whole time, which added that extra wang to driving on the turnpike.
    • The first day, Will had a fever just around 102 or so. I’m happy to say (skipping ahead a bit) he recovered fine, though it made for a bad day and a half for him.
    • Went to dinner ridiculously early on Monday because of travel, a sick kid, and generally tired parents. Had Ethiopian food at what I swear was the same restaurant where Annette (who was just pregnant with Will) and I had with some Southern Oregon folks when I was working for them way back when. Good stuff, and, in another weirdo twist, we ran into an Ypsi neighbor/friend of sorts. The person in question does lobbying/environmental activism stuff in Michigan and comes to D.C. on a regular basis. It was a weird and small world event.
    • We were awoken last night by what I thought was a group of young and drunk people but which Annette thought was an angry couple arguing. Other than that and the sketchy internet service (which seems like it works better early in the morning), it’s been a nice place to stay.
    • Got up unnecessarily early to get to our previously reserved U.S. Capitol tour, which was also unnecessary– the reservation, that is. The place wasn’t empty, but close. We got a chance to help break in the posh new Capitol visitor center, which opened this past December.
    • The Capitol tour was so-so. The group was too big, the tour guide not very good, it included lousy audio equipment, and you didn’t really see much. The intro movie in the new visitor center was pretty good, and the highlight was our tour ran into Speaker of the House Nancy Poloski on the way back to her office.
    • We went to the Natural History Museum, which was a must for Will but kinda boring for me, personally. Seen one dinosaur, seen ’em all.
    • Went to the American History Museum, which I think I enjoyed more than the rest of the group. They did a nice job restoring the “original” flag that inspired the “Star Spangled Banner,” and I very much enjoyed seeing Julia Child’s kitchen.
    • By this point, we had walked for what seemed like 12 or 15 miles, so we took a cab to the Lincoln Memorial/Viet Nam War Memorial area. Both were very nice, of course, but also over-run with high school kids.
    • Got to a metro, grabbed a quick bite at an okay Irish pub (Annette had her last bit of chocolately goodness before giving up sugar for “lent”), came back to the hotel, watched Obama, who was speaking that evening very close to where we were this morning.

    A few more Obama thoughts for the road

    • Everyone I talked to today seemed to be in a fine mood about Obama winning and such, but everyone I interacted with today seem kind of sleep-deprived.
    • While Obama was running, it was for the most part not really about race. And yet, the “big media” story today seems to be about race– that is, everyone is really excited that Obama won because he is an African-American/person of color. I’m happy about that of course, but I am mostly happy about Obama winning because he is so smart, he’s got fantastic ideas, he sees and understands complexity, he wants to talk to other people around the world, he didn’t have a freakin’ mental collapse when the shit hit the fan about the markets (ala McCain), he’s actually in the prime of his life and not near the end of it (ala McCain), and he was so pain-stakingly the obvious best choice that I was worried that Americans were going to do the stupid thing again.
    • I would say more about how it’s probably a little too early to say “all is well with race issues now in America since Obama won,” but Deb Hawhee said it better and first, so there you have it.
    • Hate radio is going to have a field-day over the next few years, and I’m worried about what will happen (or not) to the Daily Show.

    About those pushups…

    About a month ago, I wrote/posted about a site called one hundred push ups, which is a six week training plan for being able to do 100 pushups at one time.   Just thought I’d post to let folks know and to keep myself honest (my friend Bill’s advice) on my progress so far.  Well, I just managed to crank my way through the end of week 3, which was tough because there’s a big jump between week 2 and week 3.

    I must say that even with my fairly half-assed approach to this, it does feel like I’m getting some good quality exercise here.  When I started back in late June or so, I don’t think I got to five; just now, I managed to complete 20 without my arms falling off. Sure, there’s strength training here, but I think that a part of it is technique and form.

    Anyway, it’s a quick little exercise routine; thumbs up.

    Restaurant Review: Logan

    What and Where:

    Logan | 115 West Washington | Ann Arbor, MI| (734) 327-2312

    Ratings (1=terrible, 5=mind-blowingly great)

  • Tastiness: 4.25
  • Service: 3.5 (though see below)
  • Price (1=super cheap, 5=super expensive):5
  • Value:4
  • General vibe: 4
  • Comments

    • This review was prompted by yet another event during my annual birthday week. The surprise I mentioned before turned out to be a special fixed/wine tasting menu. But Annette and I’ve been here several other times before, too.
    • When this place first opened up a few years ago, Annette and I both thought that it was going to last a week. It has kind of an alarming color scheme of oranges and yellows, the menu seemed a little all over the place, and it is rather expensive. Who the heck is gonna go to this place? we thought. Tells you what we know. It’s been there and been getting good reviews and good crowds since it opened.
    • Across the board, the food is excellent. They’ve got a fennel salad that has to be tried even if you don’t like fennel. They’ve got a pork belly appetizer that is super-duper rich and delicious. It seems to me that we’ve almost always had some kind of special for a main course, and while I can remember some things being better than other, I can’t recall getting anything that was less than “pretty darn good.”
    • Last night, we were at one of these special food paring with wine sort of meals that was really over-the-top, but I suspect some of these things will show up on regular dinner menus: perfectly cooked and unbelievably clean mussels with a saffron foam, sweetbreads with various garnishes (my first time with those, and I am sure I will order them again when I’m in a fancy eatin’ mood), the previously mentioned pork belly dish, rabbit in pancetta (sorry Troy and Lisa), and a very interesting ginger flan.
    • Wine is a big deal here. They don’t have the biggest wine list in town– that would be The Earle, I think– and they aren’t about “good values” in terms of the prices. But the wine guy (Kevin) knows his stuff and he’s quite friendly about it all, too. Needless to say, the wine last night was great.
    • Interestingly enough, the lunch at this place is similar but different. The fennel salad and the skate are on both menus, but most of the items are (logically enough) more lunch-like. But the food is just as good and the prices are considerably less, so lunch at Logan is a sensible way to check it all out.
    • If I had any complaint, I guess it would be that while the service is good, it isn’t as good as the rest of the place. Last year for my birthday, we were in New York City and we went to Babbo, and one of the things that was really remarkable about that place was the unbelievable level of customer service. Now, Logan is in the same general price range (well, Babbo is a bit more expensive, but it’s in NYC), bu the wait staff service and the like is just a notch or two less than it should be. But it’s still darn good.